Source: Senator Blackburn’s Office | March 27, 2020 and ongoing with updates

There are many questions regarding the coronavirus and the federal response to the impact the pandemic has had on our economy, our healthcare systems, and our daily lives. It is imperative to Senator Blackburn that her constituents receive the information needed. Below is information their office has received including guidance for student loan assistance, donating medical supplies, VA questions in general, DOD contracts, etc. Also linked are several flyers with helpful information from the SBA, as well as detailed information on the CARES Act.


Tennessee Small Business Development Center Update 4/16/2020:

The TSBDC notified the public that both the EIDL and PPP programs have run out of funds. The EIDL application portal is disabled and banks cannot submit PPP applications to SBA for approval until further notice.

Lapse in Appropriations Notice: SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.

Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.


Daily Press Briefings


Updated 4/15/20:

The IRS has launched web-based sites to help Americans with their Economic Impact Payments.

For those who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, they can check the status of their Economic Impact PaymentHERE.  

For those who are not required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, they can enterpayment information HERE

For those Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns, they will NOT need to take any action in order to receive their check, as described HERE.

Also, the Department released short videos on the Payment for Non-Filers and Social Security Recipients.


Update 4/8/20: Click here to view a .pdf file for the Health Care Options during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Update 4/6/2020: A website with links to state resources from the TN Dept. of Health, Essential Businesses, and Small business resources set up by Gov. Lee’s office: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html


Update 4/2/20: Information From IRS Legislative Affairs Division

Topic: Social Security Recipients Will Automatically Receive Economic Impact Payments

Key Points: 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.

The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.

The Treasury press release on this is available for sharing on social media at this link or visit Treasury.gov. IRS News Release IR-2020-61, March 30, 2020, Economic impact payments: What you need to know, has been updated with this information and is also shareable on social media. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

For further questions, log onto IRS.gov, or  the IRS toll-free telephone assistance line: 1-800-829-1040.


Update 3/27/20: Coronavirus Policy Responses to date


STUDENT LOANS

  • The Trump administration previously announced student loan relief due to the COVID-19, and the CARES Act will expand that relief
  • The CARES Act automatically defers payments until September 30, 2020, and also waives any interest accrued during the deferment
  • Students should see no payment due on their accounts once the bill is signed into law
  • Borrowers with non-federally owned loans do not automatically qualify for the deferment
  • Deferred payments will count towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PLSF) and loan rehabilitation
  • For students who dropped out of school as a result of COVID-19, the student is not required to return Pell grants or federal student loans for that term.
  • Interruptions in an academic term, due to COVID-19, will not count towards lifetime eligibility limits for Pell grants or subsidized loan

*If requested, here are each of the federal student loan servicers’ phone numbers:

CornerStone: 1-800-663-1662
FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA): 1-800-699-2908
Granite State — GSMR: 1-888-556-0022
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.: 1-800-236-4300
HESC/Edfinancial: 1-855-337-6884
MOHELA: 1-888-866-435
Navient: 1-800-722-1300
Nelnet: 1-888-486-4722
OSLA Servicing: 1-866-264-9762
ECSI: 1-866-313-3793


MEDICAL SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, and SERVICES 

How to Help – Companies With Medical Supplies, Equipment and Services

  • To sell medical suppliesor equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov.
  • If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us detailson what you are offering.
  • If you are a private company that wants toproduce a product relatedto the COVID response – email nbeoc@max.gov.
  • If you are a hospital and other companies in need of medical supplies, contact your state Department of Public Health and/or Emergency Management
  • For non-medicalsupplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit our Industry Liaison Program.

VETERANS AFFAIRS

As you may know, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a mission to act as a safety net for the nation’s healthcare system.  There is a possibility that – and VA is preparing for – this mission to be activated as the COVID-19 infection continues to spread and overwhelm our medical system.

HHS must formally request VA provide this assistance to civilian healthcare systems and non-veteran patients.  The request for support cannot come from local or state-level authorities.  I’ve attached a letter from Sec. Wilkie to Gov. Lee if local officials are asking questions about this type of resource.


SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources


OTHER RESOURCES:

Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations Summary

AICPA State Tax Filing Relief Chart for Coronavirus

Small Business Committee: Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act

Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses


CARES Act Factsheet

CARES Act: Recovery Check FAQ:

Who is eligible for a recovery rebate? All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income under $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married), who are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security Number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. A typical family of four is eligible for a $3,400 recovery rebate.

What about taxpayers with adjusted gross income over $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married)? Are they eligible to receive any rebate? The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children. For a typical family of four, the amount is completely phased out for those with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $218,000.

What if my income was above the threshold in 2019, but I’ve lost my job due to the corona virus? Can I still get a rebate check? If your income in 2019 was in the phase-out range you would still receive a partial rebate based on your 2019 tax return. However, the rebate is actually an advance on a tax credit that you may claim on your 2020 tax return. If your income is lower in 2020 than in 2019, any additional credit you are eligible for will be refunded or reduce your tax liability when you file your 2020 tax return next year.

Is the rebate taxable or will I have to pay back any amount if the rebate based on my 2019 return is larger than what it would be if based on my 2020 tax year return? No, the rebate is treated like other refundable tax credits, such as the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, and not considered income. Moreover, if the credit amount you qualify based on 2020 income is less than what you qualify for based on your 2019 tax return, it does not have to be paid back.

Who qualifies as a child for purposes of the rebate? Any child who is a qualifying child for the purposes of the Child Tax Credit is also a qualifying child for the purposes of the recovery rebate. In general, a child is any dependent of a taxpayer under the age of 17.

Do dependents, other than children under 17, qualify a taxpayer for an additional $500 per dependent? No, the additional $500 per child is limited to children under 17.

Are individuals with little to no income or those on means-tested federal benefits, such as SSI, eligible for a recovery rebate? Yes, there is no qualifying income requirement. Even individuals with $0 of income are eligible for a rebate so long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible SSN.

Are seniors whose only income is from Social Security or a veteran whose only income is a veterans’ disability payment eligible? Yes, as long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer. The bill also provides IRS with additional tools to locate and provide rebates to low-income seniors who normally do not file a tax return by allowing them to base a rebate on Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement or Form RRB-1099, which is the equivalent of the Social Security statement for Railroad Employees. However, seniors are still encouraged to file their 2019 tax return to ensure they receive their recovery rebate as quickly as possible.

Are college students eligible for a recovery rebate? Only if they are not considered a dependent of their parents. Generally, a full-time college student under the age of 24 is considered a dependent if their parent(s) provide more than half of their support.

I am eligible for a rebate, what do I have to do to receive it? For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required to receive a rebate check since the IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return if they haven’t filed their 2019 return. This includes many individuals with very low income who file a tax return despite not owing any tax in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

What should I do if I did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2018? The best way to ensure you receive a recovery rebate is to file a 2019 tax return if you have not already done so. This could be accomplished for free online from home using the IRS Free file program (https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free). The bill also instructs the IRS to engage in a public campaign to alert all individuals of their eligibility for the rebate and how to receive it if they have not filed either a 2019 or 2018 tax return.

If I have a past due debt to a federal or state agency, or owe back taxes, will my rebate be reduced? No, the bill turns off nearly all administrative offsets that ordinarily may reduce tax refunds for individuals who have past tax debts, or who are behind on other payments to federal or state governments, including student loan payments. The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department.

*The above information is prepared by Republican Finance Committee staff for informational purposes and should not be relied on for legal advice. Individuals should consult the IRS or a tax advisor to address questions related to their individual circumstances.


UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE:

Summary:  On March 25, 2020, the Senate passed H.R.748 by a vote of 96-0, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which contains nearly $340 billion in emergency funding.  The House concurred with the Senate and passed the measure by voice vote on March 27, 2020.

CARES Act, Division A, Title II: Assistance for American Workers, Families, and Businesses:

Allows states to temporarily increase unemployment benefits and receive federal reimbursement, and allows participation by self-employed and independent contractors.  Specifically:

Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through 12/31/20 to provide payment to those unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.

  • Provides an additional $600 per week to unemployment recipients for up to four months.
  • Provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through 12/31/20 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits no longer available.

Provides payment to states to reimburse nonprofits, government agencies, and Indian tribes for half the costs they incur through 12/31/20 to pay unemployment benefits.

Provides funding to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits through 12/31/20.

Provides states with temporary flexibility to hire staff, rehire former staff, or take other steps to quickly process unemployment claims.

Provides funding to support “short-time compensation” where employers reduce hours instead of laying off workers by paying 100 percent of the costs they incur doing so through 12/31/20.

  • Provides funding to states which begin “short-time compensation” programs

For additional information:

https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CARES%20Act%20Section-by-Section%20(Tax,%20Unemployment%20Insurance).pdf

https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus